Using the concept of a palimpsest to explain the search for real estate values in the Euclid Heights area has accomplished two things: it shows how earlier property lines can act as morphological frames, influencing the shape of subsequent development, and it shows that the continued legal existence of submerged cadastral features can nevertheless play a role in directing later growth.

The layers of the Euclid Heights palimpsest, when sorted out and analyzed separately, elucidate the progressively closer ties that Euclid Heights had to the Doan's Corners community during the course of the nineteenth century, and the Corner's simultaneously growing ties to the wider Cleveland economy. The product of demographic and technological changes, these closer ties resulted in new opportunities for creating land values on Euclid Heights and the efforts of generations of men to realize such values resulted in the cartographic layers of the palimpsest.

Land speculation was the primary reason for the new property lines that appeared throughout the century, beginning with the proprietors of the Connecticut Land Company and ending with the efforts of the Euclid Heights Realty Company. But during the middle period of the century there were some new lines added which represented efforts to build land values through agricultural use by the owners.

This study does not attempt to determine which methods of building land values were the most successful, but several things do appear likely. First that the fortunes of speculators were usually at constant risk from bank panics and wider economic events beyond their control, which is true of speculation generally, of course. Second that the growth of Cleveland and the pace of technological change would make it difficult for speculators to forecast the specific demand for different land uses and to market particular products profitably. Finally that the study of even such a small corner of Cleveland's metropolitan region as Euclid Heights is still too large a project to analyze without a more detailed quantitative methodology than this study intended to employ.

Nevertheless, such a quantitative study would be forced to acknowledge the episodic nature of economic activity on Euclid Heights and the consequential evidence of the cartographic layers of the Euclid Heights palimpsest. As with the case of literary palimpsests, the creative activities of one generation of men -- property owners, civil engineers, real estate attorneys and mortgage bankers in this case -- has never fully eradicated the works of their predecessors and the cartographic palimpsest is a valuable tool in reconstructing the history of area. As used here it offers a unique set of insights to the economic history of Cleveland and its hinterlands during the first century of its settlement by Americans.


ã Copyright by William C. Barrow 1997 - All Rights Reserved

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Last updated January 1, 1998